Running My First 5K and Conquering My Fear of Grilling…

I have been so busy recently that I have been neglecting blogging and it makes me sad. But I wanted to do a quick catch-up of my life lately! I’ve been settling into my new apartment quite well; I love having my own space and a nice big kitchen of my own! I had a friend over on Sunday and we fired up my grill for the first time. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous to use this grill for the first time. It was left by the previous tenant, and while it looks pretty new, I had this fear that I would turn the gas on and light it and it would explode. I have lots of irrational fears like this. But I decided that I just needed to try it and it would all be fine. I told my friend I wanted to grill us some lunch, so we made some chicken and veggie skewers…so yummy. I brushed the chicken with pesto and it was delicious. Oh and the grill didn’t explode (of course it didn’t). Now I can’t wait to start grilling all sorts of things!

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I also ran my first 5K race on Saturday! It was the Narragansett Summer Running Festival, which was held at Stonehill. I signed up for it awhile ago because I wanted to challenge myself – I’ve never run a full 5K before, just a mud run (which is basically half running, half climbing and getting dirty). I generally despise running, but I wanted to push myself and I figured running around my alma mater would be a nice distraction from the actual running! Going into the race, I had only run about 2.5 miles outside, so I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to run the whole 3.2 miles. However, I found it to be a lot easier than I thought, and the pretty campus and a great playlist of tunes certainly helped. I ran it in about 36 minutes, so my timing was pretty good! I won’t say I love running now, but perhaps I could be swayed into running another 5K. I enjoyed the rest of the weekend staying on campus and pretending to be a college kid again!

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One of my best friends is getting married this weekend, so I have a busy week ahead of me, but I know it will be a blast! 🙂

Cookies and Cream Protein Shake!

Happy Friday everyone! I will be heading to Mohegan Sun this weekend for a friend’s 25th birthday…I’m excited to have some dinner, drinks, and fun with friends 🙂 Sometimes you need to splurge a little, and that’s ok! I used to get down on myself for eating an unhealthy meal out or not being able to hit the gym. But I’ve come to realize that you need to live your life and not let these things worry you (thanks to the AA Bikini Body program for further emphasizing that!) Just plan the rest of your week around it – go to the gym on the days you can, eat well during the week, make your own meals at home, and then enjoy a night out. We all deserve it!

Speaking of the AA Bikini Body program (which I raved about here), there is now a Facebook support group for anyone who is part of the program. I’m obsessed with it! Every day I go on and see tons of motivating posts, recipe ideas, and successes/struggles from real girls. I can ask questions or advice from others and even Amanda and Ander will respond, as well as post workout selfies like the rest of us! I just love it. I’m not saying that you need to buy a workout/nutrition program to see results, because I know you can do it all on your own. But I have to admit that having a workout guide to follow, a nutritionist and fitness expert on hand, and a boatload of motivated ladies only a click away helps me when I need motivation or advice. These girls are so POSITIVE and I love it (clearly)!

The other night I was having a serious sweet craving. I don’t even think I was hungry, but I wanted something. And it needed to be chocolatey and delicious. Clearly my first thought was “ice cream! cookies! candy!” but I somehow convinced myself to put my thinking cap on and come up with something delicious and chocolatey yet also semi-healthy. So a protein shake it is! I had bought these yummy chocolate grahams to eat with my Arctic Zero, so I decided to use them to make a cookies and cream shake. It took some taste-testing and tweaking but the end result was yummy! It made a big glass and was under 300 calories…success 🙂

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Cookies and Cream Protein Shake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup plain/vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (omit if you use vanilla yogurt)
  • 20 chocolate snack grahams (I like Horizon Organic)
  • 1/3 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Protein – Vanilla Ice Cream flavor)
  • 8-10 ice cubes

Directions:

1.) Add ice to a blender and top with the rest of the ingredients. Then just blend! Add more grahams or protein powder to taste, depending if you want it more cookies-and-cream-y or more vanilla-y. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info (Per shake, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 281
Fat 8 g (1 g saturated)
Fiber 2 g
Carbs 29 g
Sugars 14 g
Protein 20 g

New Workout Plan: AA Bikini Body!

At the beginning of December, I decided to buy the Amanda Adams AA Bikini Body program because I needed a new workout plan. I like having a schedule to follow at the gym, otherwise I tend to go and just do the same things or a random assortment of things. It’s a 12 week program, with totally doable workouts and a meal plan, which basically just outlines the calories you should be consuming per day (mine is 1900, so not depriving myself!) and the breakdown of nutrients (protein/carb/fat) to strive for. I’ve been using the MyFitnessPal app to help with this, and I like it because I can put in my own recipes to see the calorie and nutrient breakdown! I am now in Phase 2 of the workouts and love it so far. I can feel and see my muscles getting stronger, and I am sore as I am typing this!

The program was designed by Amanda Adams, a fitness model, and Ander Wilson, a nutritionist. How cute are they??

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Check out Amanda’s website here; I promise you will become obsessed with her. Because besides having an awesome FIT body, she is also extremely down to earth and advocates for a normal approach to eating and working out. Not some insane program where you drink powders for meals and workout 7 days a week, but one that is actually realistic! That’s what I like about the program; the workouts are very do-able with a busy schedule, the calories per day are totally reasonable, and she encourages girls not to deprive themselves of dessert/alcohol/the foods you love! She also does blog posts on her site as well as posts regularly on Facebook and Instagram. If you can’t tell, I love the program, her philosophy on life, and the fact that she is so real about everything. I am in no way affiliated with her or the program (I wish…) but I like to share things that work for me in regards to fitness and nutrition, just in case others are interested as well. 🙂

I am also happy to report that 2015 has been awesome so far! I’ve been hanging out with friends and our new dog, I booked a vacation to South and North Carolina for March, and am really taking time to appreciate all that I have in life. Looking forward to seeing what else 2015 has to offer!

New Changes for Me and the Blog!

Ta da…my blog can now be found at sequinsandsushi.com! No more long link to find it 🙂 I finally bought the domain so now it will be much easier to share the link and also no one else can take the name, yay! However, all of the old links to sequinsandsushi.wordpress.com will still be directed here, which makes it so easy. I’m so excited!

Thanks to Jess, I have also now become a Blue Diamond Tastemaker, which means I can sign up for projects involving certain products of theirs (almonds, almond milk, crackers, etc.) and write a blog post about them. In exchange for the blog post, they send me the products free; I can choose to put them in any recipe I would like! Currently all of the projects are full but I am hoping to do a sponsored post soon. Check out Jess’s post using Blue Diamond vanilla almonds to make banana nut bread muffins!

I also started a new workout regimen this week (titled Time for a Change…how fitting!) that I had pinned on Pinterest awhile back. Let me just say, I am hobbling around like an old person right now. It hurts just to sit on the toilet, but no pain no gain, right?? On Wednesday I did “Monday” and yesterday I did “Tuesday”, and since I work at the bar tonight this will have to be one of the “take it easy” days…but I usually do a lot of running around at work, so I won’t necessarily be taking it easy! I like that it can be customized to each person’s weekly routine, and it also allows you to choose your own ab exercises and cardio, so you can try to improve each week. I like having a structured “plan”, otherwise I end up just doing a bunch of random things at the gym. The soreness makes me believe it’s working so far!

I also found a few good articles on the My Fitness Pal blog: this one about how to eat well while on vacation (probably should have read that before my trip…) as well as this one about the importance of having a treat day/meal/snack every once in awhile. If you deprive yourself of something, you will eventually snap and binge on it. I think of the times when I “cheat” and order a meal/dessert that is fried/unhealthy; usually after having just a few bites I realize I don’t want it anymore, but by telling myself I couldn’t have it, I just made myself crave it even more and I’ll eat the whole thing. Thinking ahead and planning for these treats can allow you to enjoy something you love without going overboard. Also, by not letting yourself have treats as often, they become something you look forward to!

Vacation Recap: Myrtle Beach

Hello everyone! I had a great week in South Carolina with my brother, sister, and brother-in-law…I enjoyed lots of sunshine, shopping, drinks, food, and relaxation time. But reality hit quick and it’s back to work for me…just wanted to share a few pictures from my week away!

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Greeted by palm trees upon arrival 🙂

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First beer of the trip: a hef at Gordon Biersch

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Great brewery tour at New South in Myrtle Beach!

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Beer time!

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Up close and personal with some sharks at the aquarium!

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Broadway at the Beach!

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Feeding the fox squirrel- indigenous to SC!

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And of course…sushi

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Family 🙂

Transformation Tuesday: Dirty Girl Mud Run Edition

My fellow dirty girl’s thoughts on our mud run!

Rookie Running Life

This past weekend was filled with fun, especially since my two best friends and I were running our second Dirty Girl Mud Run, a down-and-dirty 5k obstacle course filled with mud, rocks, grime, and all things mother nature.

It was a great day for the race – sunny, but not too hot and humid. We lucked out there. We entered the 10:30 wave, which seemed to be a popular option since some obstacles had us waiting in line to complete – such as the “Get Over Yourself” wall climb. But my friends and I made the most of our wait, catching up on life while dancing to some of the music blaring from the speakers.

According to my friend Lisa’s Fitbit (by the way, you MUST check out her blog here), we burned over 400 calories while having a great time. I must admit though, it took a…

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2nd Annual Dirty Girl Mud Run!

Saturday I completed my 2nd 5k mud run! We had a blast once again and definitely got nice and muddy (I think I need a pedicure to get all of it out of my toenails). I only did it with 2 friends this year, but the other 2 are definitely doing it next year, so we will carry on the tradition once again!  I also donated my shoes again at the end; Dirty Girl will clean and donate the muddy sneakers to those in need. Therefore, I have an excuse to buy some new sneaks…yay!

This year we ran a later wave, so we had to wait longer at some of the obstacles than last year. But according to my Fitbit (which I wore under a sweatband so it didn’t fall off), I still burned 410 calories…not bad for running/climbing 3.1 miles! We celebrated with our free beers, free Larabar samples, and lunch at the sports park before heading home. Then my boyfriend and I celebrated with dinner. Can’t wait to do it all again next year!

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Before and after!

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Tough mudders!

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Last year’s before and after photos!